How to Plan a Memorable Polynesian Lu'au Event
by Lisa Noelani Robbins
copyright 2008
Polynesian Dance Studio specializes in demonstrations, lessons, and special events. Here are some ideas to help you plan a memorable Polynesian lu'au event.
A great lu'au can take place either indoors or outdoors. A backyard works great. If seasonal rain is expected, it's a great idea to have an outdoor tent handy just in case or you can  move your lu'au indoors in case of inclement weather.
There are places you can rent, such as community centers, restaurants, hotel ballroom, convention center, a public park shelter, or at the beach.
Some parks and beaches may require a permit for a large gathering. Please inquire at your local city hall or local parks service for your city's requirements.
Lu'au entertainment
Most lu'aus can last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. Polynesian dance entertainment by Polynesian Dance Studio can last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Polynesian Dance Studio offers various entertainment and cultural workshop packages.
Licensed and Insured?
Make sure your entertainment company is licensed and insured and always ask for proof. Polynesian Dance Studio is licensed, insured, and certified.
Schedule the entertainment
Lu'au dance entertainment usually begins after the majority of your guests arrive. It is common to schedule the entertainment to begin after the meal and before dessert. If a meal is not part of your program, then you can schedule the entertainment when most of your guests are present.
Be sure to make any entertainment requests with the Polynesian Dance Studio entertainers prior to your event. For example, if you have a special song request or dedication, please plan in advance.
Lei greeting
Leis are garlands of flowers worn around the neck, wrist, or head. Leis are a symbol of everlasting love and respect. They also add to the tropical ambience of your lu'au.
Lei greeters and leis are available for an added cost. Or you could have a supervised lei-making area at your lu'au so your guests can string their own leis. Carnations and rosebuds make great fresh flower leis.
Polynesian Dance Studio Show
Most of our shows include dances from the Polynesian islands of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and New Zealand. We wear authentic island costumes, use authentic implements, and include music from island entertainers.
Shows include a minimum of 2 dancers. We always bring our prerecorded music on CD.
One of the performers acts as a Mistress of Ceremonies to introduce each song or dance, provide cultural background or explanation, and to encourage audience participation as needed.
Your event can be purely dance entertainment or it could also include audience participation by your request. We include contemporary songs sung by Don Ho, the Hawaiian Hukilau song, and a fast moving Tahitian otea.
Guests may also participate in the poi ball dance. Poi balls are from New Zealand and are cushioned balls attached to braided yarn or rope. This activity is by special request only.
The word lu'au means feast. Authentic Hawaiian cuisine includes poi made from taro root, seasoned raw or cooked fish, kalua pig (shredded pork), lomi salmon (cubed salmon with onions, green onions, and tomatoes), limu (seaweed), and other unique foods.
Contemporary island flavors are now fused with the foods of other cultures. You may include various kinds of teriyaki (chicken, beef, or pork), soy sauce chicken, skewered meat and vegetables, fresh fruit kabobs or fruit salad in a watermelon basket, barbecued chicken or pork, and rice. Fruits include pineapple, papaya, and mango. For drinks, you can include fruit punch, sherbet punch, and mai tais.
For dessert, you can  include shaved ice or "snow cones," banana cream pie, pineapple upside down cake, or pineapple marshmallow fruit salad.
Please contact me  for more information and to schedule authentic Polynesian entertainment for your next special  event.